There will be at least one new face on the Lodi City Council come Nov. 3, as three residents look to fill the District 5 seat vacated by the late Bob Johnson earlier this year.

For the last six years, Mikey Hothi has been the district director for Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, and now, he ‘s seeking political office for himself.

A Lodi native, Hothi, 29, said he wants to do more to support businesses, individuals and families during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as create more amenities and activities for residents and visitors to enjoy in town.

“I’d like to provide more support for those who are struggling during this pandemic, address the growing unhoused community issue, and youth services,” he said. “I will work to build more green space, including walking, jogging, and biking trails throughout town. Additionally, I would like to focus on ensuring our citizens and visitors feel safe in Lodi.”

Hothi said he has long supported efforts to improve Lodi, which includes leading the charge to secure $1 million in funding to shore up embankments when Lodi Lake was dealing with an erosion issue, as well as helping to raise $500,000 for cyber security resources when the City of Lodi was attacked with ransomware.

Those are just two issues he would like to continue addressing as a council member. Others include building a safer community for Lodians, finding a solution to the city’s homelessness situation and improving the cleanliness and safety of regional roads and waterways.

A graduate of Tokay High School, Hothi earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California Los Angeles.

Since returning to Lodi, he has served as a Lodi Fire Foundation board member and as a Measure L Sales Tax Oversight Commission member.

Hothi boasts a number of endorsements including his boss Cooper, Lodi mayor Doug Kuehne and former police chief Tod Patterson. He is also endorsed by Charlene and Randy Lange of LangeTwins Winery, Pastor Mark Price at St. Paul Lutheran Church and Amritpal Tiwana, president of the Lodi Sikh Temple.

Both the Lodi Professional Firefighters and Lodi Police Officers Association have endorsed him as well.

Hothi has raised $13,976 in contributions, and has only spent $200 in expenditures, leaving him with $13,776 as of June 30.

For more information about Hothi, visit www.mikeyhothi.com.

One of Hothi’s opponents is someone who has considered running for council in the past, but personal and professional issues arose that prevented him from doing so.

With Johnson’s passing in March, local business owner Michael McKnight said it was important to now continue the late Lodian’s focus on fiscal responsibility.

“I have considered running twice in the past,” he said. “In 2012 I did not because my father was terminally ill so I focused on him. In 2016 I was starting a new project with my business and didn't feel I had the time to dedicate to a council seat. I have no political aspirations and would not use this as a stepping stone for higher office.”

McKnight added he’d like to expand the city’s economic development, advocate for more transparency from the council, bolster and stabilize staffing for public safety and bring higher-paying jobs to the city.

A Stockton native, McKnight, 52, graduated from Lodi High School and studied business administration and accounting, as well as fire science, at San Joaquin Delta College.

Since 1997, he has been the owner of Proline Media, a company that provides audio and video production, as well as events services and lighting, located at 911 Industrial Way.

He has also been a KJOY Radio Morning Show host from 2002-2018. He has also worked at 104.1 The Hawk and Planet 95.1 from 1998-2002, and the Mokelumne Fire District from the early 1990s to 2007.

McKnight is a member of Woodbridge Masonic Lodge, a past Master Councilor at Lodi DeMolay, and a past member of Lodi Kiwanis.

Endorsements include 9th Congressional District candidate Tony Amador, the Central Valley Impact Republicans, HerLife Magazine and Fisherman’s Friend.

McKnight has not filed any campaign disclosure forms with the Lodi City Clerk’s office.

For more information about McKnight, visit www.votemcknightlodi.com.

Hector Madrigal, 33, said he decided to run for city council after witnessing what he believes was a “terrible” response to the COVID-19 pandemic at all levels of government.

“I was annoyed — to put it kindly — by the absence of preparation from those we called leaders,” he said. “I saw mayhem as our own community turned against each other for food and supplies. More recently, a racial divide has returned to the forefront of our society. I wish to support the people of Lodi as we continue through this tumultuous and historic era, I hope to bring the community together, and I will provide innovative ideas from the next generation of lawmakers.”

Born in Bakersfield, Madrigal’s family moved to Lodi when he was 9 years old. A 2005 graduate of Liberty High School, he earned associates degrees in English and political science from Delta College, as well as a pre-law studies certificate.

While at Delta, he served as vice president of the San Joaquin Delta College Politics, Law, and Society Club, and as a member of San Joaquin County Together.

If elected, Madrigal said he will float the idea of limiting council members and the mayor to term limits, call for criminal justice reform, and push for nurses and mental health professionals to respond to criminal incidents to assist the police.

He also wants to fight for a center where the city’s homeless can obtain the resources they need to get out of their current situations, he said.

Madrigal has been endorsed by Lodi Improvement Committee member Sandra Vargas, Stay Sharp owner Jose Nava, Casa Mexicana owner Job Sanchez, and small business owner Kimberly Bozeman.

He has not raised any campaign contributions, nor has he spent anything on his run for council, according to disclosure forms filed with the city clerk.

For more information about Madrigal, visit www.votehector.us.

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